Long-term visual localization is the problem of estimating the camera pose of a given query image in a scene whose appearance changes over time. It is an important problem in practice, for example, encountered in autonomous driving. In order to gain robustness to such changes, long-term localization approaches often use segmantic segmentations as an invariant scene representation, as the semantic meaning of each scene part should not be affected by seasonal and other changes. However, these representations are typically not very discriminative due to the limited number of available classes. In this paper, we propose a new neural network, the Fine-Grained Segmentation Network (FGSN), that can be used to provide image segmentations with a larger number of labels and can be trained in a self-supervised fashion. In addition, we show how FGSNs can be trained to output consistent labels across seasonal changes. We demonstrate through extensive experiments that integrating the fine-grained segmentations produced by our FGSNs into existing localization algorithms leads to substantial improvements in localization performance.
In this paper, we present a method to utilize 2D-2D point matches between images taken during different image conditions to train a convolutional neural network for semantic segmentation. Enforcing label consistency across the matches makes the final segmentation algorithm robust to seasonal changes. We describe how these 2D-2D matches can be generated with little human interaction by geometrically matching points from 3D models built from images. Two cross-season correspondence datasets are created providing 2D-2D matches across seasonal changes as well as from day to night. The datasets are made publicly available to facilitate further research. We show that adding the correspondences as extra supervision during training improves the segmentation performance of the convolutional neural network, making it more robust to seasonal changes and weather conditions.
Visual localization enables autonomous vehicles to navigate in their surroundings and augmented reality applications to link virtual to real worlds. Practical visual localization approaches need to be robust to a wide variety of viewing condition, including day-night changes, as well as weather and seasonal variations, while providing highly accurate 6 degree-of-freedom (6DOF) camera pose estimates. In this paper, we introduce the first benchmark datasets specifically designed for analyzing the impact of such factors on visual localization. Using carefully created ground truth poses for query images taken under a wide variety of conditions, we evaluate the impact of various factors on 6DOF camera pose estimation accuracy through extensive experiments with state-of-the-art localization approaches. Based on our results, we draw conclusions about the difficulty of different conditions, showing that long-term localization is far from solved, and propose promising avenues for future work, including sequence-based localization approaches and the need for better local features. Our benchmark is available at visuallocalization.net.
Robust cross-seasonal localization is one of the major challenges in long-term visual navigation of autonomous vehicles. In this paper, we exploit recent advances in semantic segmentation of images, i.e., where each pixel is assigned a label related to the type of object it represents, to attack the problem of long-term visual localization. We show that semantically labeled 3-D point maps of the environment, together with semantically segmented images, can be efficiently used for vehicle localization without the need for detailed feature descriptors (SIFT, SURF, etc.). Thus, instead of depending on hand-crafted feature descriptors, we rely on the training of an image segmenter. The resulting map takes up much less storage space compared to a traditional descriptor based map. A particle filter based semantic localization solution is compared to one based on SIFT-features, and even with large seasonal variations over the year we perform on par with the larger and more descriptive SIFT-features, and are able to localize with an error below 1 m most of the time.